I think Sprout is still kind of up-and-coming in the whole preschool TV market. You know how I can tell? Because of the commercials. If you are a brand in and of yourself like Disney Channel or Nick Jr, you don’t need commercials. Every single minute of programming is a commercial.
The marketing peeps are all high-tech savvy now. ”It’s like preschool on TV.” You know, except it’s not, because no matter how many times Dora asks you to take something out of her backpack – you can’t actually comply. So I guess it’s kind of like preschool on TV, if your peer asks for your input on something and then decides to do whatever the hell she wants anyway. (Admittedly, that does sound a lot like preschool, and “Say Yes to the Dress”)
Or maybe you’ve been on a wicked acid trip since the mid nineties and you and your band-mates truly believe you are superheroes whose sole mission in life is to save the world through craptastic hypnotic music. Then one day you hook up with Biz Markie and that guy from Devo who doesn’t brush his hair and likes to draw picture pages and you decide that you can’t save the world without saving the children…so you make a television show to instruct them how to dance the “Razzle Dazzle” and refrain from biting their friends or eating toast that has fallen on the floor.
And one of you primary characters resembles a giant P….ickle.
Preschool on TV? Wow. When I was a kid we just made planet mobiles out of paper plates and glitter.
I made Pluto. Now they tell me it wasn’t even a planet after all.
My entire life is a lie.
Oh but Nick Jr has our number and our money. Because the boy wants all things Wubbzy and Dora and Diego and Kai Lan! I have competed in bidding wars in the middle of the night on eBay to win the privilege of paying 15 times retail for an out of production Wubbzy figurine. The anticipated appreciation in value of Michele Kwanzellberry and Winkin’ Widget IS our five year plan. If Wubzzy goes down – I’m going to have to get a real job.
Sprout doesn’t have the same niche. Mostly because they have such a hodgepodge of different (many syndicated) shows. It’s understandable that they can’t sustain being ad-free – but I have to wonder why the advertising is so disjointed. You can’t even wrap your head around the demographic they must be reaching out to – Montel Williams hawking payday loans, Pillow Pets (It’s a pillow. It’s a pet. It’s a pillow pet!), and Your Baby Can Read. Sleepy, plush loving, yuppie parents competing for a spot in one of those trendy baby “academies” in Manhattan that you have to get on the waitlist for like when you have your debutante party, who might need some extra cash to buy videos to watch with their fetus in between playing Mozart to their bellies and working on the pro-con list of diaper genie vs diaper champ?
It’s just that if you aspire for your 7 month old to read and believe that a set of DVD’s sold at Bed Bath and Beyond and $99.99 are all you need for this to be achieved. The genes required for your child to be capable of reading, like ever, are seriously mutated.
Curiously enough, know what is good for turning out early readers?
Yep. Your baby may be able to read – if he’s autistic.
When Peter was 20 months old he could recognize every letter in the alphabet. You might wonder how we accomplished that? We did nothing. Other than having books around. The normal parent stuff. It was the red flag that did us in.
When he was 28 months old he sight read a few words. We thought we were losing our minds. We dismissed it. At that time he could barely say “Mommy”.
Sometime around 3.5 I realized that he was reading words. Sight reading. Memorization. Last December I wrote the word Menorah on the wall in the bath. He read it.
We never work on academics with Peter. Let me explain. He’s in school. He’s well above grade level academically. It’s not our primary focus. It’s the one thing we don’t have to worry about. So we work on emotional regulation, and staying present, and not spinning in circles, and communicating with peers…and holding a fork…and…ad nauseum.
I had a box of flashcards from my old job in the closet. I’d noticed that since school started he’d been sight reading a lot more regularly. I pulled them out and put them with his toys downstairs.
He opened the box and scattered them – tactile exercise. Then he lined them up by length of word. Then he began reading them.
When it was time to go to school I had to pry him from them. I let him take a handful in the car.
As I drove, I heard him say, “I want to go to school.”
So I announced that indeed we were on our way to school. And he began screaming “No, I do not want to go to school. No I don’t like it. I want to help you do your Avon job.”
I said “Peter, you just said you wanted to go to school. I don’t understand.”
Peter: ”No Mom, I read the “my baby can read card.”
Me: ”The what?”
Peter: ”The my baby can read card. It sayed ‘I WANT TO GO TO SCHOOL’, I readed it.”
I turned around, grabbed the card and OMG – verbatim, the front of the card has a word, the back uses the word in a sentence – and then he read the other three. I had to try hard(er than usual) to not drive off the road.
I don’t quite know why I am so surprised. Hyperlexia is quite common with kids on the spectrum. But whether it’s a symptom of something or not, I don’t care. I’m going to celebrate the heck out of my boy reading.
Because a love of words is what has sustained me – and I believe that it can do the same for him.
All this without needing the payday loan. I guess Michelle Kwanzellberry was the right investment after all.